West Papua Information Kit

Act of Free Choice

The Act of Free Choice (AFC) was the title of an Indonesian military presentation during 1969 to promote an Indonesian claim to West Papua. This was two years after General Suharto sold the Freeport corporation a 30 year mining license of the colony. The Indonesian commander General Sarwo Edhi Wibowo selected 1025 men who were told to vote for Indonesia against independence.

What the AFC was not

The AFC was not a "referendum".
Referendum: (noun) The right to approve or reject by popular vote a meassure passed upon by a legislature.
The population was not allowed to vote.

The AFC was not in compliance with the New York Agreement.
Term 18: "The eligibility of all adults, male and female, not foreign nationals to participate in the act of self-determination to be carried out in accordance with international practice."

The AFC was not an act of Self-determination.
The United Nations specifies the function of Self-determination in Principles 6 to 9 of the UN General Assemby Resolution 1541.

The AFC was not endorsed as being legitimate by the United Nations.
The United Nations in its statement Resolution 2504 only said that something being called the 'Act of Free Choice' took place.
The United Nations Resolution 2504 did not endorse an Indonesian claim to the colony of West Papua.

Circumstance around ACF 14/July - 2/August 1969

1969 May 15
The Indonesian military commander for West Irian, Brigadier-General Sarwo Edhie has warned Irianese tribesmen that his troops will smash any further uprising in the former Dutch territory.
The Antara news agency quoted General Edhie as saying yesterday: "If they choose to take up arms, there is no alternative for me but to crush them."
. . .
General Edhie said his men were hunting down several Irianese policemen who backed the rebels in the Enaratoli area.
1969 May 15
. . .
Some unconfirmed reports said that at least 500 people were killed in the uprising. About 600 combat troops are now in control of Enarotali and its surrounding airstrip.
. . .

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
- Edmund Burke (1729-1797)